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Blackthorne Brothers Prequel

Blackthorne-Brothers-Prequel-iBooks

Blackthorne Brothers Prequel

(A Healing Springs Romance Series)

 

 Declan Blackthorne stared at his computer screen. Any second now, each of his estranged brothers would appear on screen, and it was his own damn fault.

Making arrangements over email and text wasn’t working. A phone call would be a jumbled mess. So he had proposed a video conference, figuring it was the easiest way to get them all on the same page while they were scattered in various corners of the world.

Miss Molly—their aunt and practically a second mother to them when they were growing up—had sent each of them a letter, imploring them to return to Healing Springs. Apparently their father had disappeared without a trace, and the police weren’t taking his absence as seriously as Miss Molly thought they should.

The screen lit up with an incoming call, so Declan clicked on the notification and grumbled a hello to his oldest brother, Zander.

“Where are the others? I only have a few minutes.” Zander glared into the camera, not bothering with pleasantries.

Before Declan could respond, Kaden buzzed in. Blaze tuned in a moment later, just as Declan started typing out a text to him.

“We’re really doing this?” Kaden questioned, pushing his Hollywood hair away from his forehead.

“What choice do we have?” Declan asked. “Our father is missing. We can’t sit back and pretend he doesn’t exist.”

“It’s worked for the past eight years,” Zander mumbled.

“Well it’s not working now. He needs us.”

“We needed him,” Kaden spoke with disdain, as if Declan could have forgotten how they had been forced off the farm. Out of their home. “He didn’t exactly fight for us.”

“We were grown.” Why Declan felt the need to defend his father was beyond him. Being cast out of the family home at nineteen, having to find places to stay during school breaks, and having to dodge questions about his family hadn’t been a picnic.

“And he’s a grown ass man now,” Kaden replied.

“He’ll be back,” Zander said with authority. “Probably on a bender.”

“Do we know if he’s been drinking?” Declan knew the answer to the question he posed. Of course they didn’t know. They wouldn’t have known their father still lived if not for Miss Molly’s twice-a-year updates.

“Probably needed to escape StepWitch.” Kaden shivered dramatically. “That woman still gives me the chills.”

“Valid point,” Declan conceded. “But still. Can you imagine Dad waking up one day and deciding to walk away from the farm? He loves that farm more than anything.”

“Including us,” Kaden spat. His eyes narrowed as he stared into the webcam, challenging any of the brothers to dispute his claim. When no one did, he resumed his usual nonchalance.

Declan needed to work another angle. He had already made up his mind that he’d return to the farm to find his father, but he needed the support of his brothers. He didn’t want to do it alone.

“Zander, come on. You’re a doctor. You took an oath. He could have a medical issue. He could need a professional assessment.”

Zander groaned and shook his head. “They have doctors in Healing Springs.”

“But none as committed as you,” Declan responded. “Blaze, if he’s in trouble he might need some muscle to get him out of it.”

Blaze continued to stare ominously into the camera, looking creepy even for him. He wasn’t one to speak much, and Declan had grown to accept that early on. Declan didn’t relate to the lone wolf thing, but Blaze was as loyal as an alpha wolf, so Declan and the other brothers didn’t take offense at Blaze’s lack of interest in conversation.

“And Kaden, we need your creative thinking abilities to help us figure out where he could have wandered off to or what trouble he may have found himself in.”

Kaden grimaced but released a stream of air. Declan had him. He could see the doubt lifting from each of their furrowed sets of eyebrows. Could see them submit to his pleas.

Declan added a little weight to his side of the proverbial scale.

“Remember when we were young and we took that oath? The Blackthorne Brotherhood? We’d always be ready to serve if one of us needed something? Zander and Blaze, it was your idea. You made all of us promise that we’d put our family ahead of all else. I’m invoking that oath. Our father needs us. I need you. We have to go.”

“Fine.” Zander spoke first. “I’ll put in a request for temporary leave. I won’t be able to stay long.”

“Great, that’s perfect.” Declan’s heart raced in his chest, and he relaxed his shoulders. “Blaze?”

Blaze nodded in agreement and left the call with no further discussion.

“All right… now it’s just you, Kaden.”

“You guys are trying to ruin my life, aren’t you?” Kaden released a stream of air, sending a loud gust through the microphone. “Fine. Whatever. I’ll tell my agent that I have a family crisis. But I can’t stay forever.”

“None of us want to stay forever,” Zander retorted.

Satisfied that he had managed to get them all on board, Declan wrapped up the meeting and disconnected.

His heart had once belonged to the Blackthorne Family Dairy Farm, and being forced away by his mother’s death and his father’s hasty remarriage had created a cavern in his heart that he had never managed to fill.

Going back would be painful.

But leaving his current situation might be exactly what he needed.

 

***

Declan

 

“If you seriously walk away from your career, I’ll never take you back.”

Declan stared at Sherri and struggled to maintain his cool. Her nostrils flared, and her eyes turned wild as he remained silent.

“Call them back, Dec. Tell them you reconsidered.”

He turned back toward his open suitcase and tossed more clothes in. He wouldn’t need the suits that hung in the closet or the overpriced ties Sherri had loved to buy. The shiny shoes wouldn’t hold up to farming conditions, either.

He had no problem leaving them all behind.

“Declan, you’re not even listening to me.”

“I’m done listening to you, Sherri. I’m done talking to you. We’re done. We’ve been done. It’s time to move on.”

Her eyes filled with tears. They weren’t real. None of this was real.

“This isn’t you, Declan baby. You’re sweet. And kind. I don’t know what you’re going through, but I want to help you get the old you back.”

He bit the inside of his cheek and held back the things he wanted to say.

Sherri had worked hard to make Declan the good provider he had become. She had invested a great deal of time into polishing him and making him presentable enough to work at her father’s accounting firm. He had spent too much time going along with what she wanted, convincing himself that he wanted it, too.

Her voice held no hint of tearfulness while he zipped his suitcase. Miraculous recovery.

“I did everything for you, Declan. You were nothing before me. My father didn’t want to take a risk giving you that internship but he did because of me. Declan! You can’t leave like this. Your family isn’t even your family anymore—they don’t need you like I need you.”

Declan paused at the door to the condo she had refused to leave. The condo he had bought. The condo he had assumed he’d stay in until he figured out what to do with his life.

“Sherri, we broke up a month ago.”

“But I don’t want to break up. You’re not thinking of me at all!”

To her credit, this time she managed to gather enough tears to create a waterfall effect over her cheeks.

“I’ve been thinking of you since we met. I was thinking of you when I took an internship I didn’t want. I was thinking of you when I dressed up in those damned suits every day. I was thinking of you when I became an accountant rather than a farm owner. I was thinking of you when I let you stay here after we broke up, relegating me to the uncomfortable sofa that you just had to have. And now I’m thinking of you when I tell you that I don’t believe we ever loved each other and it’s time for both of us to move on and find the lives we are meant to lead.”

“You don’t mean that. You don’t mean any of that!”

“I mean all of it.” Declan slipped his sunglasses on and opened the door. He paused before fully crossing the threshold. “But you know what, Sherri? I’ll be fair to you. You can stay here forever—the condo is all yours. This is the life you wanted—you just need to find another man to fit into the shoes you so desperately wanted me to wear.”

Before she could reply, he closed the door on the life he hadn’t wanted.

 

***

Zander

 

Zander rolled off his mattress and reached for his pants. He hadn’t expected Selena to crawl into his bed in the wee hours prior to his departure, but he hadn’t exactly pushed her out, either.

She drew circles on his back as he plunged a leg into his pants.

“Once more before you go?”

Her sultry voice and her bold invitation might have tempted him, but they’d already been messing around for several weeks, which was more time than he liked to devote to one woman. In some ways, having to leave Nepal to head back to the States might have been his saving grace.

“I have to leave now to make my flight.”

She planted kisses down his spine. He stood up to pull his pants over his hips.

“You’ve never talked about your family before…”

He didn’t respond. They weren’t friends. They used each other to meet their physical needs. Family talk wouldn’t have occurred to him.

Besides, aside from some random texts here and there, he hadn’t stayed connected to any of his family. The idea of reuniting with them after the protracted absence gave him palpitations. He had never planned to return to Healing Springs. Too many ghosts lingered there. None of which he wanted to mingle with.

“Zander, I’d like to pick up where we’re leaving off when you get back.”

Zander shook his head and dug through his trunk for a new shirt, since she had confiscated the one he had last worn. Selena was an intelligent woman, a gifted doctor, and sexy as all hell.

But he didn’t do relationships.

“Don’t shake your head—it’s a great idea. We’re pretty good together.”

“You’re wonderful, but I don’t do that.”

“I know it’s too soon, but imagine what our kids could offer this world? With my talents and yours…not to mention our great looks?”

Her teasing had him clenching his jaw and wanting to bolt.

“I’m not having kids.”

“You say that now, but I can convince you otherwise…”

She ran her hand over her shapely thighs before opening her legs to offer what he had previously enjoyed.

Thoroughly.

He had led her on long enough. Had he known she was growing attached, he would have ended their affair sooner.

“I won’t be changing my mind. About kids or about picking up where we’re leaving off. When I return, we go back to being colleagues.”

Kids were a complication he didn’t need or want. He didn’t have time or patience, nor the desire to share his life with dependents. He wasn’t a family man and had thought he had made that clear to everyone in his professional and personal life. He had no desire to leave his position in Nepal—unless it was to move on to another disaster area where his skills could be put to good use.

That was no life for a child, even if the idea of procreating didn’t make his skin crawl.

He wanted to save lives, not create them.

He grabbed the bag he had already packed and tossed it over his shoulder. Pausing at the door of his tent, he took one last look at Serena as she positioned her body to flaunt her best physical assets.

“You’re really not coming back to me, are you?” Serena’s voice held no self-pity.

He shook his head. “I’ll be back. But not to you.”

She pulled the blanket over her legs and plastered a friendly-but-professional expression on her face.

“I’ll always keep a part of you with me,” she vowed.

He fought the urge to roll his eyes. She deserved better than that. She wasn’t the first woman to wax poetic and to think she had feelings for him.

He’d have to be more clear in the future.

And stick to his one-night rule.

She waited for his response. He didn’t have time for dramatics. Not even the low-key kind.

Trying to cushion the weight of his rejection, he stepped out of the tent and, as he dropped the flap, told her she could keep his shirt.

 

 

***

Blaze

 

“Keep up that level of commitment and the sponsors will offer you triple.”

Blaze nodded while swiping a towel across his forehead. His coach had been unusually jovial since delivering the good news about the attainment of a high-level sponsor. Blaze had trained long and hard for this.

Coach Johnson slapped him on the back. “Keep up with your training exercises while you’re away. I imagine you’ll be able to find plenty of ways to work your body on a farm.”

Blaze nodded once again. The fire that burned in his body wouldn’t allow him to stop. The need to work his muscles was too strong to take a break.

Blaze started for the showers.

“And Blaze?”

Blaze stopped mid-stride, turning back to his coach—the one person he felt closest to. The one man who understood that Blaze wasn’t great at communication, but that he would work harder than most and never give up.

The one man who had been willing to take a chance on a street fighter and put the work in to shape him up so he could fight outside of an illegal cage.

The one man who believed in Blaze. Hell, Blaze didn’t even believe in Blaze as much as Coach Johnson did.

“Is Chad still giving you shit about leaving?”

“Yes, sir.” Blaze had gone toe-to-toe with his manager about his need to go to New Hampshire to address a family crisis. Chad had cautioned that taking time away at this stage of his career could be detrimental.

Blaze agreed.

But what choice did he have?

“I told him to lay off you. These sorts of things are never easy, and I know you didn’t want to take time away from here. But listen good, Blaze. Family is important. Take the time you need. I’ll let your sponsors know you remain as committed as ever and that nothing will keep you from your upcoming fights.”

“Thank you, sir. I’ll be back soon. You have my word.”

Whatever that was worth.

Coach Johnson nodded curtly. “Get in the shower before I drive you to the airport. Don’t want your stinky ass smelling up my car.”

In the drop-off lane at the airport, Blaze and Coach Johnson exchanged a handshake after Blaze pulled his bag from the trunk of the car. His tension built as he strolled toward his terminal. He had done his best to avoid thinking about returning home. The realization that he’d be seeing his brothers for the first time since they had all fled Healing Springs created a web of anxiety inside. Walking through the front door of a home that had stopped being theirs the moment their mother had died would be closer to torture than any beating he had endured on the streets.

And if they couldn’t find their father? The man they had deserted when he made a choice they hadn’t approved of?

Blaze refused to consider that possibility.

Something had happened to his father. Though Zander remained convinced that their father had gone off on a bender, Blaze’s gut told him something more nefarious had happened.

And no matter how repellent the idea of returning to Healing Springs was, Blaze would stop at nothing to find his father and return him to the family homestead.

 

 

***

Kaden

 

Hailey’s tongue—or was it Kailey?—tasted as sweet as the whipped cream they had just finished playing with. Kaden hadn’t planned on bringing anyone home with him from the club, but after a few drinks and her hot little body sliding up to his in his limo, how could he refuse what she so freely offered?

Annabelle, his agent, chastised him through the phone. He nibbled on Hailey/Kailey’s lip as he bit back a smile at the nagging sound of Annabelle’s irritation.

“Now is not the time to flake out on me, Kaden.”

“I won’t flake. Promise.”

“I can hear you kissing someone while we’re talking. Can you stop being a manwhore long enough to have a business conversation? Jesus, Kaden.”

“Okay, okay—you’ve got my full attention.”

Hailey—he was sure that’s what she introduced herself as—slid down his bare body, kissing his chest and circling her tongue around his nipples.

“Listen to me clearly, Kaden. You are the top choice as lead actor for this new project, and it’ll be huge. It’ll break you out of the action hero mold you’ve been so desperate to escape and will diversify your portfolio. But Clarissa Beaufont is the headliner, and you can’t do anything to screw this up. She’s extremely particular about who she’ll work with.”

“You know I want it badly, Annabelle. I won’t fuck up.”

“Everyone who reads the gossip blogs knows you’re a playboy, but if you do anything to garner undue negative attention or to tarnish the good boy image you’ve cultivated, she’ll refuse to work with you. Hear me?”

Hailey cupped his balls in her warm hands, massaging gently as her tongue plunged into his ear.

Hot damn.

He needed to get off the phone.

Annabelle wouldn’t want to overhear what was about to transpire.

“I’ll be as good as always. You have my word.”

“You’d better. She won’t work with anyone with questionable morals. She’s already making an exception for your, uh, sexual abundance, but that’s only because she’s a fan of your work and she acknowledges that men have certain needs. But if you do anything—”

“Have I ever let you down?”

Hailey gazed up at him through heavy lashes and smoldering eyes. Last night’s makeup managed to make her more alluring as her tongue lapped the skin over his abs…and lower.

“I’ve gotta go. Call you when I land in NH.”

He tossed the phone across the room as Hailey fell to her knees and took him deeply into her mouth. Though his driver waited to take him to the airport, he accepted the going away gift Hailey so generously offered.

The star treatment she gave did a bang-up job of helping him to avoid all thoughts of returning to his hometown and slipping back into his old skin.

If he had any luck at all, his father will have reappeared before Kaden’s plane could land, and then he could turn right around and head back to Hollywood where the skin he wore felt more comfortable and familiar.

But as he boarded the plane without the distractions Hailey so kindly provided, Kaden was forced to confront the sickening knot of fear twisting in his gut.

What if they were too late?

 

***

To dive into the series, please start with Declan.  

The Blackthorne Brothers series will launch on November 13, 2017.

Be sure to visit my website for more adventures in Healing Springs. 🙂

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Filed under Free short story, reading, Uncategorized

Three Cheers for Kenzie Rose!

Welcome to our wild and wacky Author Interview, featuring the lovely Kenzie Rose. Thanks for joining us, Kenzie! 🙂

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About Kenzie:

Kenzie Rose lives on the Central Coast of California with her husband and grown children where she is surrounded by ideas and inspiration for her books. When not writing, you will find her sitting on the deck reading romances and listening to the waves.

She also loves to cook and throw parties for friends and family so this is her excuse to spend way too much time on Pinterest. She loves talking to readers and connecting with them on Social Media.

Kenzie’s Books:

*Everlasting Love, Book 1 in The Vineyards of Love Series

iBooks

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Kobo

*She’s My Destiny, Book 2 in The Vineyards of Love Series (tentative release December 27, 2016 (Cover reveal November 21, 2016)

*Unexpected Love a Vineyards of Love Novella (Tentative release February 21, 2017)

How to Connect With Kenzie:

*Facebook

*Twitter 

*Instagram: @kenzieroseauthor

*Facebook Readers Group

*Email: info@authorkenzierose.com

*Snap Chat: authkenzierose

*Website is under construction.

And now it is time to introduce my friend, author Kenzie Rose! Thanks for stopping by, Kenzie!

What do you write?

Contemporary Romances with HEA’s set on the Central Coast of California where I live.

What’s your favorite book of the books you’ve written?

Right now, it’s Everlasting Love, the first book that I wrote.

Who is your favorite character in one of your books?

Abigail Anderson, she lost her boyfriend who she loved in High School suddenly and decided that she couldn’t take a chance on love again because of the possibility that she might lose someone else too. But she is no match for Anthony.

Please tell us a little about your current writing project (your work in progress)

 This book is different than book 1, it has a little bit of action but it has been fun to write. Sam and Marco are a very earthy couple.

Here’s the synopsis:

Samantha thought she had finally found love – her bad high-school relationship only a memory. But memories have a way of coming back to haunt as Samantha’s old boyfriend is determined to stick around. Even his mere presence is threatening to derail her newfound happiness…

Marco has waited years to find “the one” and he knows that he’s found her in Samantha. With a new business, barely off the ground, he knows he has a lot to prove and the last thing he’s looking for is for her former ex to change his destiny – the destiny of him and his love.

Only Fate can decide if Samantha and Marco will be together and if their true love will conquer all.

Who is your favorite character in a book written by someone else?

That’s a hard one. I think Madeline Keller from Second Chances by Bernadette Marie. She is a very strong woman who battles Breast Cancer and learns that Second chances are possible.

Please share a few details about your writing process.

I have always been a visual person so believe it or not it all starts with a dream. I dream about the book, very vivid dreams, then I wake up and write. I also do a lot of research. I love it when I can read a book and visualize it. So, I pay attention to details. I write a chapter then my editor will read it then edit it so when I finish my first draft I can start right away on the editing. With this WIP it has been different, I wrote scenes or chapters while I was writing book 1, my ideas can come from hearing a song or seeing something like a winery or a hotel.

If you have pets, please share a memory—can be funny, poignant, sad…whatever you choose!

No Pets….

Please describe your ideal reading spot. Does this differ from your ideal writing spot?

I can read anywhere but my favorite place is in a bubble bath. I write anywhere the mood hits me.

If you won millions in the lottery, what would you do with it?

Quit my job and write full time and travel.

Where have you traveled? Where do you hope to travel?

I have been to the East Coast (Delaware and Pennsylvania) Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Nevada and Arizona. I would love to go to New England in the Fall and England, Ireland and Scotland. Now that I have written a book about some very Italian men I dream about going to Italy. Specify Tuscany and Lake Como.

If a movie was made about your life, who would play you? What would the title be?

Julia Roberts and it would be called My Way.

What’s your favorite candy? Favorite baked good? Favorite vegetable?

Favorite Candy is Peanut Butter Cups; Baked goods would be Brown Butter Cookies. Favorite Vegetable would be fresh green beans.

Do you have any hobbies? What are they?

I love to craft, make jewelry. I made Christmas Ornaments that are from my books again this year.

Do you collect anything? If so, what? 

Besides signed books I collect cookbooks. I love to cook.

If you could have a two-hour lunch with anyone (living or dead, fictional or real), who would it be?

E.L. James and Kelly Elliott. (I couldn’t pick just one.)

If you were to design a t-shirt with your life motto, what would it say?

You got this!

What animal best reflects your personality?

A cat.

What should we make for dinner tonight? Do you have a favorite recipe you can share?

Chicken Piccata

Ingredients 4 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or more as needed 2 extra-large egg 1/2 tablespoon water 1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs Good olive oil 6 – 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 – 6 lemons), 1 lemon sliced in reserved 1/2 cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. (I use aluminum pans for easy cleanup.) Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce. For the sauce, wipe out the sauté pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt all but 2 tablespoons of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon slices, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon. I serve this with white rice but my daughter makes it and serves pasta.

Enjoy.

(Yum! I’m going to add this to my menu this week! -Amanda)

Who is your favorite book boyfriend/girlfriend?

Josh (Faithful by Kelly Elliott)

What’s your favorite sport or physical activity?

Baseball

Are you a Mac or PC person?

PC

Android or iPhone? Or are you more of a flip phone kind of person?

iPhone

Black socks, white socks, or funky colored/patterned socks?

Depends on the mood

How do you take your coffee or tea?

Southern Sweet Tea

What’s your idea of an incredible date?

Dinner and then my husband taking me to the bookstore.

What did you want to be when you grew up at age 5?

Olympic Gymnast.

What motivated you to write what you write?

I was told growing up that I had dyslexia so I just should plan on being a housewife. I wanted to prove them wrong, so I devoured books. Then I became a book blogger and an editor. Then one day I sent my best friend 4 chapters of something that I had written. She told me she wanted more. 6 months later Everlasting Love was finished and I had several books planned by then.

What makes you choose a particular character to develop? Do you have any special techniques for developing characters?

Nothing special I just write what wants to be written.

What would you say is your greatest success in your career so far?

Finishing Book 1 and hitting publish.

What do you want to be remembered for?

My family always comes first.

Please tell us something about yourself that hasn’t been covered in any of these questions.

I love to plan parties; doesn’t matter what kind of event I just have fun planning them.

Thank you so much for joining us here on my blog, Kenzie! Happy writing! xoxo, Amanda 🙂 

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Filed under Author Interview, reading, Uncategorized, writing

Please welcome Christine Mazurk! :)

I’m thrilled to have the fabulous author, Christine Mazurk, visit my blog today. Please check out her interview below!

Here’s Christine Mazurk’s professional biography:

I’m an accomplished business woman and Ironman triathlete, who decided to quit my job to write fulltime!! Persistence, determination, and passion allowed me to reach my dream of becoming a published author! It took eight years to find my agent, and she sold my first book within six months. I’ve never looked back. Only forward for my next stories!!!

Some of her amazing books:
Passion’s Race, Passion’s Spirit, Mystical Connections, and Sisters Of Spirit, an anthology written with three lovely friends.

When you’re done reading this interview, you’re going to want to stay in touch with Christine. Here are some options for connecting with her:

*Facebook

*Twitter

*Website

*Email: mazurkchristine@gmail.com or cmazurk@aol.com 

And now it is time to journey into the wonderful imagination and life of Christine Mazurk! Don’t feel like you have to hold your applause until the end… 😉

What do you write, Christine?

I write contemporary fiction with romantic elements. Currently, I have two series going: One is an athletic journey series – two books published to date. The third is my current WIP. The other is a spirit with a message – one published to date, I’m working on the second one in tandem with Passion’s Promise!! Lots going on in my head right now! Characters fighting for the spotlight can make a person a bit loopy.

Who is your favorite character in one of your books?

It would have to be Uri in the Passion’s books. He’s a side character described as a blocky German. He’s one of CJ Fallon’s team mates and the man knows how to make you laugh!! He’s such a gentle giant with a huge heart!! Of course, I love all my heroes: Nick Madison, Mike Dawson, and Aidan Scott!!

Please share a few details about your writing process.

My best writing comes when I’m out for a long run or bike ride or hike. I see the next few scenes like a movie in my head, letting them take shape, so that once I’m showered and back at the computer, the words flow!! Mother Nature is an amazing muse.

If you have pets, please share a memory—can be funny, poignant, sad…whatever you choose!

My two 18-year-old, black and white cats passed away 3 months, 3 days apart. Thirteen days later, on a cold, wet, windy Christmas Eve as my son, DIL and I were walking their three huskies, a tiny black fur ball came running from under a bush and sat on my feet! Our Christmas present from our fur angels!! We adopted a brother for her the following week!! The Universe certainly works in mysterious ways!! (Awwwwww!!! -Amanda)

Please describe your ideal reading spot. Does this differ from your ideal writing spot?

I have two favorite reading spots. It depends on where I am – Florida or Utah. Sitting on the beach and listening to the waves crash or roll over the sand is so peaceful, but sitting under a large shade tree with the red mountains surrounding me is just as spectacular! Do I have to choose? My writing spots vary on my moods or what’s happening in the story. Can you tell I like to move around a lot? (Sounds heavenly! If I ever run away, I’m coming to find you! -Amanda) 

If you were to design a t-shirt with your life motto, what would it say?

“The heart of change is the change of heart!!”

What animal best reflects your personality?

Any large cat; Panther, Tiger, Lion. They are strong yet graceful.

Black socks, white socks, or funky colored/patterned socks?

Funky, fun, fluffy colorful socks!

What’s your idea of an incredible date?

A nice lunch out with my hubby. Favorite foods with an outstanding bottle of wine.

What did you want to be when you grew up at age 5?

I wanted to be a teacher. As I look back on my career, I did become a teacher, only my students were executives in business! I earned my degrees in Business Management and Accounting and climbed the corporate ladder to manage and train executives.

What makes you choose a particular character to develop?

Do you have any special techniques for developing characters? I travel often and love to people watch. It’s the best way to develop interesting characters with unique mannerisms and tics!!

What would you say is your greatest success in your career so far?

I’ve heard from several readers that my stories have motivated them to lose weight or to live heathier, more positive lifestyles. One reader did his first sprint triathlon after reading my Passion’s books. He has since gone on to complete several Olympic distance races and just last month, he finished his first Half Ironman (a 70.3-mile race)!! Hearing these stories makes my heart happy!!!

What do you want to be remembered for?

My empathy toward others, my generosity and sharing heart. I love to give and watch the smiles blossom.

Thank you so much for sharing this insight into you, Christine! I enjoyed learning more about you! 🙂 ~Amanda 🙂 

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Introducing…Author Dorothy Callahan!

Please join me in welcoming Dorothy Callahan, author of the newly released (today!!!) book, Crazy Little FlingShe’s agreed to answer some of my questions to help us get to know her. Following the Q&A session, you can read her professional bio and find ways to connect with Dorothy! 🙂

So here we go…

Thanks for joining us, Dorothy! 🙂 We’ll just go ahead and dig right in.

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*What’s your favorite book of the books you’ve written?

I think if you ask any author, he/she will say it’s the last book written. I think mine is a tie between CRAZY LITTLE FLING and IMPENETRABLE: Let No One In. Both are a fast, roller-coaster of a ride. IMPENETRABLE is about 2 people with severe trust issues who must rely on each other, even as they mean to take each other down– professionally. CRAZY is about a veterinarian whose vacation means she can take a break from making life-saving decisions, only to be tossed into a situation that jeopardizes the lives of everyone she holds dear.

I tend to write about very different people, so what resonates for me or you might be different for someone else. My sweetest story to date, A DECADE FOR DARIUS, is far tamer and was nominated by Sweet ‘N Sassy Bookaholics as “Best of the Best Reads of 2015.” Still has action/adventure, but a lot more heart to the story.

*Who is your favorite character in one of your books?

I tend to enjoy writing about angry heroines, those who lash out first and take stock later. That would include Rayleigh MacPherson from TAMING THE STALLION, Maggie Walsh from IMPENETRABLE, and an upcoming story featuring Cora, the veterinary technician who works with Dr. Krasinski in CRAZY LITTLE FLING.

Maybe it’s because these characters are so different from me? Who knows? 🙂

*If you have pets, please share a memory—can be funny, poignant, sad…whatever you choose!

Oh, boy, do I have pets. Or ghosts. Or cats who chase ghosts. Or just naughty cats. My day goes something like this: I walk into the house and yell, “Get off the counter!” to a cat who shouldn’t be on the counter. They know this. The rules have not changed since I got my first apartment when I was 21. So, why were they up there? Invisible bugs on the ceiling? Staring down ghosts? An innate need to challenge those who deliver kibble to their bowls? Or we walk into the kitchen and find our bills scattered on the floor. Well, since the cats aren’t allowed up on the counters (right? right?), it must be ghosts!

Then, let’s consider the reason I bought a computer desk with a hutch. Did I need storage? Not really. What I *needed* was a place to store my cats while I wrote. I made sure the hutch was JUST TALL ENOUGH that any cat’s tail dangling down would not obstruct my monitor.

I was off by 1 inch.

True stories.

*Please describe your ideal reading spot. Does this differ from your ideal writing spot?

My *ideal* reading spot involves a lounge chair and sun glinting off waves. Eighty degrees. Flip flops. Bathing suits. Siiiiigggh. Where I *read* is usually on the couch or settee. Add a cat. Or three. But my writing spot is my desk. I’ve never read at my desk, except that one time my Kindle ran out of juice mid-book. Thank God for apps!

*If you won millions in the lottery, what would you do with it?

See above regarding ideal reading spot. Siiiigggghhhhh. No, I’d move to Key West and buy the Hemmingway House. (Everything’s for sale if the price is right.) Then I’d donate to animal shelters. I think I’d probably turn my home into a kitty shelter at some point, too. A real one. Not just for furry social deviants who like to scatter my mail across the floor.

*What kind of pet have you always wanted but have never had?

My initial answer is 5 horses: a palomino Appaloosa, a Kiger mustang, a Freisian, a Tennessee Walking Horse, and a Gypsy Vanner. Barring those, a turquoise fire-breathing dragon. Oh, yeah…..

*Black socks, white socks, or funky colored/patterned socks?

The funkier, the better. With Halloween this week, I’ve worn Boo ghost socks, gray bat socks, and black socks with little white bones on them. 🙂

*What’s your idea of an incredible date?

I’m sure Gerard Butler will maintain his silence. Oh, the kilt…..

Thank you so much, Ms. Torrey, for letting me join your blog today! I had a great time. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to chat. 🙂

Thank you for joining us! By the way, I’d love to have a dragon, too! Maybe our dragons can have playdates? 🙂 ~Amanda 🙂 

Here’s how you can connect with Dorothy: (And I do recommend that you reach out to her–she’s amazing and highly entertaining, both in person AND online!)

Website: www.dorothycallahan.com

Email: dorothycallahanauthor@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/dorothycallahanauthor/

Twitter @Callahanauthor

About the Author

Dorothy Callahan is one of those authors who annoys other authors by refusing to be tied down to one genre. If a tale demands to be told—even if she’s never read a single story like it—she’ll find a way to write the book of her heart. This is the only way to quiet those demanding characters begging to be heard.

She lives in New York with her wonderful husband, a pride of demanding cats, and two loyal dogs, all rescued from shelters (well, not the husband). Her love of both animals and writing prompted her to start READ AND RESCUE, an organization where animal-loving authors and readers can find one another. The unique aspect to this group is that each author pledges a portion of proceeds to his/her favorite animal cause.

When Dorothy is not writing, she enjoys shopping for antiques and renovating their pre-Civil War house. If you are interested in learning more about Dorothy or how to help other animals in need, please visit her at dorothycallahan.com, dorothycallahanauthor@gmail.com, Facebook at Dorothy Callahan Author, or Twitter under Dorothy Callahan@Callahanauthor.

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Solitary Writer at the Boston Book Festival

Each year, I try to attend the Boston Book Festival, held in October. It’s a well-organized event that has a little something for everyone.

As usual, I made sure to attend the event I look forward to each year, Writer Idol. It is exactly what it sounds like–a literary version of American Idol. Brave writers submit the first page of their work, and someone reads them aloud. Three agents listen intently. They raise a hand when they would have stopped reading the submission, and when two of the three agents have raised their hand, the work stops being read. The agents then explain why they stopped reading.

I have never submitted my pages for this event (I am SO NOT BRAVE!), but I love listening to everyone else’s work, and it’s always interesting to watch the agent’s faces as they listen. It’s especially interesting to hear their thoughts on why they stopped.

Here are the takeaway lessons I got from this year’s Writer Idol event.

*New writers often “over-write.” The agents stressed that excellent writing should sound like the author barely put any effort into the prose. It should not be clunky or “too creative.”

*Writers need to simplify. Or, as one agent put it, “You don’t need all that shit!”

*Get rid of all the adjectives.

All of these lessons are sort of the same idea, but since I’m not allowed to over-write my manuscript, I figured I could take advantage and spell it all out in a blog post. 😉

I commend all of the brave, thick-skinned souls who submitted their work to be torn apart for the benefit of all.

So to my reader friends–please feel sorry for the writers who have to craft stories around all these dang rules we’re given every other minute. (No adverbs, no adjectives, no over-writing, no under-writing, no this, no that, blah blah blah). And to all of my writer friends–have a great big drink (and don’t forget to invite me!)

xoxo,

Amanda 🙂

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Making Things Up As I Go Along

I’m a writer.

I make things up.

Stories, conversations, people.

When I write a story, I don’t model my characters after anyone I know. This can be hard for non-writers to understand.

Don’t get me wrong, bits and pieces of everyone I encounter make up the characters I create, much the same way we are all made of stardust. I can’t pretend to understand where my ideas come from… nor will I ever be able to truly explain the process. I shock myself with some of the things that happen with my characters and my books.

Do my characters act like me? Ha. I’m rather boring in person, so I hope not! My characters make decisions based on who they are, not who I am. (Imagine how boring the book world would be if authors only wrote about themselves???) Readers are way too smart–we know when a character acts in a way that isn’t congruent with their psychological profile. How many times have you screamed at the television, “She’d never do that!”

Just as I/we read to escape, I also write to escape. To dream up a world with problems that are different than mine. To coax two characters toward the happily-ever-afters they deserve. To give my characters the opportunity to say the things I wish I could or would say. (You know what I mean–like when the perfect comeback forms in your head HOURS after the argument? In a book, the author can go back and add that bit of dialogue when it percolates. Don’t you wish you could do that in real life from time to time?)

Writing can feel like magic. Seeds are planted early on in a story, and I’ll often have no idea WHY a certain something was mentioned. Later, it becomes clear. “Oh, so THAT’S why he grows flowers!” Or whatever. By the time the story is written (and rewritten, and rewritten, and oh, did I mention rewritten?), I hope to have pieced together enough of the magic to bring the characters to life in a way that can make them feel like living, breathing characters.

So someday someone can play the guessing game about who I modeled my characters after. Because if I tell you that the hot hero on the cover is really tied up in my basement, you probably won’t believe me.  But if I tell you that the people you’ve grown to think of as friends (hopefully!) were complete figments of my imagination and not my friends, family, or neighbors, it may be even harder to believe.

Loving a Wildflower - Amanda Torrey 1600x2560

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